The moment's gone (a tribute to The Wedding Present)

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New Musical Express 20 January 1996

(Cooking Vinyl/LP/CD)
ON RADIO recently, David Gedge claimed that the most hurtful press comment he'd ever read about himself was that he had hairy ears. Well, Dave's clearly not much of a reading man, because The Wedding Present have been all-purpose indie punchbags for many years now. Dismissed as C86 throwbacks at the height of baggy, mocked for being grunge before their time, scorned for still being grunge after everyone else, dropped by RCA for having too many hit singles - the Weddoes haven't had a lucky decade so far.
Which is a tad unfair, as Gedge's conversational style and downbeat Yorkshire romanticism could well be the missing link between Morrissey and Jarvis Cocker. Certainly his lovelorn early lyrics always had a proto-Pulp bent.
The good news is that there's a brace of such heartbreakers on this odd little automobile-themed comeback album. 'Love Machine' is vintage Gedge: a delicate melody, a bruised sentiment and a gruff sob of a vocal, all shackled to great gnarly clumps of guitar and showered with the ashes of a burnt-out love affair.

'Convertible' is better still, a free-wheeling strummer propelled by warm spurts of Hammond organ and a cheeky central image: "Yeah, I'm still with her/But I guess I'm always convertible...". It's good to see Gedge playing potential adulterer for once, rather than impaling himself on yet another bizarre love triangle.
It's not, alas, all top-gear stuff. There's a couple of those scrawny half-songs the foursome specialised in during their single-a-month phase. 'Go Man Go' and 'Mercury' are better, but are business-as-usual fare rather than born-again dazzlers.
The Wedding Present won't grab many new converts here. But for anyone who's ever swooned, shagged or fallen out of love to a well-turned Gedge-lyric, 'Mini' provides a welcome reminder of his band's undeniable place on the margins of Britpop.
Just one thing, Dave - sorry about the ears comment. It really wasn't personal. (6)

Stephen Dalton

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